Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part LXIII

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Image Depicting Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes

by Thomas Watson

An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (v.9)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

Concerning Peaceableness

“Blessed are the peacemakers.” Matthew 5:9

This is the seventh step of the golden ladder which leads to blessedness. The name of peace is sweet, and the work of peace is a blessed work. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’.

The reasons why we should be peaceable-minded are two: (Continued)

Be of a peaceable disposition. ‘If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men’ (Romans 12:18). The curtains of the tabernacle were to be looped together (Exodus 26:3, 4). So should the hearts of Christians be looped together in peace and unity. That I may persuade to peaceable-mindedness, let me speak both to reason and conscience.

1. A peaceable spirit seems to be agreeable to the natural frame and constitution. Man by nature seems to be a peaceable creature, fitter to handle the plough than the sword. Other creatures are naturally armed with some kind of weapon with which they are able to revenge themselves. The lion has his paw, the boar his tusk, the bee his sting. Only man has none of these weapons. He comes naked and unarmed into the world as if God would have him a peaceable creature. ‘White-robed peace is befitting to men, fierce anger is fitting for wild beasts.’ Man has his reason given him—that he should live amiably and peaceably.

2. A peaceable spirit is honorable. ‘It is a honor for a man to cease from strife’ (Proverbs 20:3). We think it a brave thing to give way to strife and let loose the reins to our passions. Oh no, ‘it is a honor to cease from strife’. Noble spirits are lovers of peace. It is the bramble which rends and tears whatever is near it. The cedar and fig-tree, those more noble plants, grow pleasantly and peaceably. Peaceableness is the ensign and ornament of a noble mind.

3. To be of a peaceable spirit is wise. ‘The wisdom from above is peaceable’ (James 3:17). A wise man will not meddle with strife. It is like putting one’s finger into a hornets nest; or to use Solomon’s similitude, ‘The beginning of strife is as when one lets out water’ (Proverbs 17:14). To set out the folly of strife, it is as letting out of water in two respects:

[1] When water begins to be let out, there is no end of it. So there is no end of strife when once begun.

[2] The letting out of water is dangerous. If a man should break down a bank and let in the sea, the water might overflow his fields and drown him in the flood. So is he who intermeddles with strife. He may harm himself and open such a sluice as may engulf and swallow him up. True wisdom espouses peace. A prudent man will keep off from the briars as much as he can.

4. To be of a peaceable spirit brings peace along with it. A contentious person vexes himself and eclipses his own comfort. He is like the bird which beats itself against the cage. ‘A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself’ (Proverbs 11:17). He is just like one who pares off the sweet of the apple and eats nothing but the core. So a quarrelsome man pares off all the comfort of his life and feeds only upon the bitter core of trouble. He is a self-tormentor. The wicked are compared to a ‘troubled sea’ (Isaiah 57:20). And it follows ‘there is no peace to the wicked’ (verse 21). The Septuagint renders it ‘There is no joy to the wicked’. Angry people do not enjoy what they possess—but peaceableness of spirit brings the sweet music of peace along with it. It makes a calm and harmony in the soul. Therefore the psalmist says, it is not only good—but pleasant, to live together in unity (Psalm 133:1).

5. A peaceable disposition is a Godlike disposition.

God the Father is called ‘the God of peace’ (Hebrews 13:20). Mercy and peace surround his throne. He signs the articles of peace and sends the ambassadors of peace to publish them (2 Corinthians 5:20).

God the Son is called ‘the Prince of peace’ (Isaiah 9:6). His name is Emmanuel, God with us, a name of peace. His office is to be a mediator of peace (1 Timothy 2:5). He came into the world with a song of peace; the angels sang it: ‘Peace on earth’ (Luke 2:14). He went out of the world with a legacy of peace: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you’ (John 14:27).

God the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of peace. He is the Comforter. He seals up peace (2 Corinthians 1:22). This blessed dove brings the olive-branch of peace in his mouth. A peaceable disposition evidences something of God in a man. Therefore God loves to dwell there. ‘In Salem is God’s tabernacle’ (Psalm 76:2). Salem signifies ‘peace’. God dwells in a peaceable spirit.

6. Christ’s earnest prayer was for peace. He prayed that his people might be one (John 17:11, 21, 23), that they might be of one mind and heart. And observe the argument Christ uses in prayer [it is good to use arguments in prayer. They are as the feathers to the arrow, which make it fly swifter, and pierce deeper. Affections in prayer are as the powder in the gun; arguments in prayer are as the bullet]. The argument Christ urges to his Father is ‘that they may be one, even as we are one’ (verse 22). There was never any discord between the Father and Christ. Though God parted with Christ out of his bosom—yet not out of his heart. There was ever dearness and oneness between them. Now Christ prays that, as he and his Father were one, so his people might be all one in peace and concord. Did Christ pray so earnestly for peace, and shall not we endeavor what in us lies to fulfill Christ’s prayer? How do we think Christ will hear our prayer, if we cross his prayer?

7. Christ not only prayed for peace—but bled for it. ‘Having made peace through the blood of his cross’ (Colossians 1:20). Peace of all kinds! He died not only to make peace between God and man—but between man and man. Christ suffered on the cross that he might cement Christians together with his blood. As he prayed for peace—so he paid for peace. Christ was himself bound—to bring us into the ‘bond of peace’.

8. Strife and contention hinder the growth of grace. Can good seed grow in a ground where there is nothing but thorns and briars to be seen? ‘The thorns choked the seed’ (Matthew 13:7). When the heart is, as it were, stuck with thorns and is ever tearing and rending, can the seed of grace ever grow there? Historians report of the Isle of Patmos that its natural soil is such that nothing will grow upon that ground. A froward heart is like the Isle of Patmos. Nothing of grace will grow there—until God changes the soil and makes it peaceable. How can faith grow in an unpeaceable heart? For ‘faith works by love’. It is impossible that he should bring forth the sweet fruits of the Spirit, who is ‘in the gall of bitterness’. If a man has received poison into his body, the most excellent food will not nourish until he takes some antidote to expel that poison. Many come to the ordinances, but being poisoned with wrath and animosity they receive no spiritual nourishment. Christ’s body mystical ‘builds itself up in love’ (Ephesians 4:16). There may be praying and hearing—but no spiritual growth, no edifying of the body of Christ—without love and peace.

9. Peaceableness among Christians is a powerful loadstone to draw the world to receive Christ. Not only gifts and miracles and preaching may persuade men to embrace the truth of the gospel—but peace and unity among its professors. When as there is one God and one faith, so there is one heart among Christians—this is as bird-seed, which makes the doves flock to the windows. The temple was adorned with ‘goodly stones’ (Luke 21:5). This makes Christ’s spiritual temple look beautiful, and the stones of it appear goodly, when they are cemented together in peace and unity.

10. Unpeaceableness of spirit is to make professors turn heathens. It is the sin of the heathens to be ‘implacable’ (Romans 1:31). They cannot be pacified. Their hearts are like adamant. No oil can supple them; no fire can melt them. It is a heathenish thing to be so fierce and violent, as if with Romulus men had sucked the milk of wolves!

11. To add yet more weight to the exhortation, it is the mind of Christ that we should live in peace. ‘Have peace one with another’ (Mark 9:50). Shall we not be at peace for Christ’s sake? If we ought to lay down our life for Christ’s sake, shall we not lay down our strife for his sake?

To conclude: If we will neither be under counsels nor commands—but still feed the vile disposition, nourishing in ourselves a spirit of dissension and unpeaceableness—then Jesus Christ will never come near us. The people of God are said to be his house: ‘Whose house are we . . .’ (Hebrews 3:6). When the hearts of Christians are a spiritual house, adorned with the furniture of peace, then they are fit for the Prince of peace to inhabit. But when this pleasant furniture is lacking and instead of it nothing but strife and debate, Christ will not own it for his house, nor will he grace it with his presence. Who will dwell in a house which is all on fire?

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